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The governance and management of resources in a source-to-sea continuum – challenges and opportunities

The dynamic interface between land and oceans embodies a key development and environmental challenge of our time. Existing approaches to environmental protection and development on land, along rivers, and in coastal zones and marine environments struggle, however, to address linkages in the source-to-sea continuum. The international community recognized the need for integrated coastal and freshwater management in the Manila Declaration on Furthering the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, which was adopted by 65 countries in January 2012. In this declaration, countries agreed “to improve cooperation and coordination at all levels to deal with issues related to oceans, coasts, islands and their associated watersheds, by applying integrated management such as “ridge to reef” approaches, including by involving stakeholders and developing innovative solutions to improve or resolve identified problems”. 

The Action Platform on Source-to-Sea Management

The Action Platform for Source-to-Sea Management (S2S Platform), which is hosted and supported by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), was launched on 1 September 2014 as a multistakeholder initiative to help freshwater, coastal and marine experts connect and engage in collaborative projects, promote best practices, and take collaborative action to improve the management of land, water, coastal and marine linkages. The platform is a network open to organizations in the public sector, the private sector, the scientific community, and non-governmental and civil-society organizations. FAO is a member; the full memberships of the Platform and its Steering Committee can be viewed at www.siwi.org/source-to-sea.

The S2S aims to facilitate contact between decision-makers and experts to provide on-demand knowledge, support, advice and guidance on policy development and implementation on freshwater, land, coast and sea. By doing so, it aims to enhance the efforts of the inter­national community to fulfil its commit­ments expressed in the Manila Declaration and other agreements.

The mission and objectives of the Platform are as follows:

Mission

To support coordinated and innovative approaches to governance and management from source to sea.

Objectives

  • To improve coherence and integration in land, water, coastal and marine management.
  • To catalyse collaborative actions among govern­ments, financiers, practitioners and the scientific community.
  • To generate and share knowledge in land, water, coastal and marine management.
  • To stimulate innovation in governance, planning and implementation through pilot and demonstration projects.
  • To serve as a technical resource to support the implementation of ongoing and emerging programmes with strong ‘Source to Sea’ linkages.

With the adoption by the UN of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their 169 targets in September 2015, an additional objective of the S2S Platform is to support coordinated implementation of the freshwater and marine SDGs (6 and 14), with a particular focus on linking targets 6.5 (integrated water resource management) and 14.1 (land-based activities).